I found Renew Wales through my interest in the Transition movement and the potential to get involved and help groups positively carry out and plan for meaningful action regarding climate change. This to me was not just about putting solar panels on your roofs but meant we had to look at community capacity to explore the issues and the potential of everyday manageable solutions to working together make a difference to the really big and complex strategic changes. So to do this it was about building confidence, skill levels and the opening of minds of what is possible and finding the right passionate people like myself who can mentor and inspire them to achieve their goals or at least start on their own journeys. This brought me to Pentrebane Zone a local community lead charity in one of Wales most deprived council estates, I wanted to put into practice all that I had learned and support my local community to do this themselves through community development, engagement and developing of inspirational projects. That’s what we do and that’s what we want to share with others. The message that something is possible and you have the ability to influence your life and your communities lives for the better whilst doing your bit for the environment and society.
Tell us about one or more experience of your work with Renew?
Aberdare Pupil Referral Unit students wanted to develop an activity that would inspire their young attendees to take an interest in life and the world around them. I helped them explore their motivations and interests which led us to something practical and something digital, and maybe also develop it into something that also promotes healthier lifestyle choices. The idea was for a digital bench where they would have a treadle or pedal powered bench that would power USB and charge their mobile phones and devices. So once I had the young people’s interest I had the job of sourcing a new mentor to help the group as one did not exist already for such a pioneering project. I have now found the right mentor for the job and with it will widen their horizons to other possibilities, from creative industries, pedal powered devices, alternative energy streams, new practical skills and confidence to see and idea through to completion. This project will shortly go live.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
A connected community that has the interest and time to support itself to run sustainable community activity and look after its own green spaces and food growing projects that help to nurture feed and support the health and wellbeing of the wider community. The grass patches will be less and in their spaces fruit gardens, colours, vibrance that inspire people to interact with them and spend time outside connecting with nature, the origins of food and importantly each other where they develop support networks for those times of stress.
The buildings in the city will have green walls that not only feed and provide biodiversity but clean up the air of pollutants so that we can breathe healthier air and suffer less stresses from industrial processes.